Fragments of Meghan Marohn
My closest friend disappeared in March, without a trace. This is what I have left of her to share with you.
Grief is a fair-weather friend. In the moments of crisis and chaos, it holds back, waiting patiently for the waters to calm so it can clear its throat and say, “Excuse me.…” I’d been wondering when it would knock on my door through all this — knock and present itself properly, I mean — and at last, it did. It arrived the day we found out Roe v. Wade had been overturned, when my first thought was: I’m glad Meg isn’t here to see this.
I met Meghan Marohn in the summer of 2019. My boyfriend at the time knew her from environmental activism in Troy, New York, and they’d been arrested together at an Extinction Rebellion protest earlier that year. They’d all laid down, “like selkies” she said, on the Brooklyn Bridge. They blocked traffic to try to convince someone, somewhere, to give a shit that the planet is dying around us and taking us with it.
Meg was released from jail early that day. A call came in from home: there’d been a family emergency. She assumed immediately that it was about her father, who has cancer. It wasn’t. Her mother, Ellen, also a teacher like Meg, had suffered an aneurysm and was dying in the hospital. Meg made it up to Albany just in time to say good-bye before her mother’s body went cold.
I met her after all this, after yet another piece of her heart had been torn out and thrown across the veil. She was remarkably calm about it that night we met, when we sat in her apartment on Old Sixth under the Christmas lights and the scraps of typewriter poetry all over the walls. She was going to Ireland soon, to wander hilltops and churches performing ceremonies for her mother in the land of her ancestors. That night, we wrote prayers on bits of paper and burned them in the candles. I don’t remember why. It just seemed like the thing to do.
I met her again two months later, after the dissolution of my relationship. We hardly knew each other, but I found myself asking if I could stay with her for a few days while I figured out where to go next. She said yes. I don’t know what compelled me to ask. Maybe a part of me knew. Maybe it was just that right away, everything about her felt like home.